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A quick question about MRE

Posted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:48 am
by rosabella
We purchased some Eversafe MRE's at the beginning of this year and being fairly new to prepping we didn't notice the expiration dates on the three cases. Two of them were manufactured Mar 2010 and the box says they will expire in 2014, and one of them we got a discount price was packaged in 2007 and no expiration date is on that box. The cat we purchased them from here is advertising on his website they're good for 7+ years and in another section on the same site he state's the shelf life depends on the how and the temp they're stored in. So what's the reasonable expectation on MRE Shelf life stored in an air conditioned home?

Thanks for the help and have a good one.

Re: A quick question about MRE

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 12:41 pm
by raptor
This is the standard answer that you will find every where:

http://mreshelflife.com/
Unfortunately there is no fit-all answer. There are no expiry or best-before dates printed on MRE packaging. All there is, is the date of manufacture, and the date of inspection, if applicable. Claims of sites selling MREs are often projections or estimates. So, it the one you are looking to buy, or holding in your hands good to eat? In a civilian setting, it is up to the you to make the call based on two variables: manufacture date and storage conditions.

It is useful to know that the US military inspects MREs after 3 years, and disposes of them after 5 years of the date of manufacture.

The 5 years shelf life only applies at room temperature, or 81 F (27 C), and it drops considerably in hot conditions.
A better answer is that commercially canned food often is not only cheaper to buy in bulk but in many cases it will last much longer than MRE and for the most the "best by" means only that this is a standard date and the food is actually good for years longer than that date. Obviously there are exceptions to this statement and YMMV.

The key to long term food storage is a routine rotation plan to rotate and (hopefully) consume the older supplies, a cool, dry and dark storage area.

Re: A quick question about MRE

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 12:59 pm
by NT2C
What Raptor said but with the addition that absent any indications of spoilage (swollen containers, foul smell, etc.) the contents are still going to be safe to eat and will provide adequate nutrition. They may not taste great, or look appetizing, but they can be consumed in case of need. There's an interesting YouTube channel that I subscribe to Steve1989MREInfo where he regularly consumes military rations from around the world that are as old as that or older.

For example:



So, while they may not be of first quality anymore, they shouldn't really be discarded as "bad" either.

Re: A quick question about MRE

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:26 pm
by majorhavoc
OP, your experience is not out of the ordinary. I've done something very similar myself; it's part of becoming more sophisticated about prepping. As Raptor observes, canned and bulk packaged food are much better, more economical choices for long term prepping. However, there can be a place for MREs and such in your food preps (for a grab and go bug out food kit, for example).

It is unfortunate that vendor sold you products that are already past their expiration date. I can only hope the price you paid reflected that fact. My advice would be to consume them in the coming weeks and months. And if you feel MREs have a justifiable place in your food preps, replace them with more up to date MREs.

To the uninitiated, it's a real education unpackaging, preparing and eating MREs. Using the flameless ration heaters in particular is something that's worthwhile practicing ahead of time, so you know what you're doing in a real life emergency. KJ4VOV gave you solid advice recommending Steve1989MREInfo's YT channel - he's an excellent resource on all things MRE, not just the fact that they can remain edible well past their expiration date. Other YT channels you might want to look at are: Nathan's MRE, gshultz9 and - for a refreshing lay person's perspective on military rations - emmymadeinjapan.

Re: A quick question about MRE

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:39 pm
by raptor
majorhavoc wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:26 pm
However, there can be a place for MREs and such in your food preps (for a grab and go bug out food kit, for example).
Excellent point. I agree that there is a place for MREs in a good prep plan. I keep a 12 unit case in my office.

The other thing to remember is that in addition to the issue of cost, not all MREs are created equal. Some commercial MREs are not made to the same quality level as 'mil spec". That and temperature is the key issue to MRE longevity. You really want to be comfortable that the MREs you are buying were stored at an acceptable temperature range. Real MREs cannot be lawfully resold but you can find them online since the .mil sells the older ones as surplus at times. Thus when buying MRE you really need to check out the manufacture date before putting them into your food preps.

I frequently offer 2 other suggestions to consider:

1.) Commercially produced shelf stable meals. There are also commercially produced MRE entree only meals.
2.) Freeze dried meals.

Re: A quick question about MRE

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:56 pm
by JeeperCreeper
raptor wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:39 pm
Real MREs cannot be lawfully resold but you can find them online since the .mil sells the older ones as surplus at times. Thus when buying MRE you really need to check out the manufacture date before putting them into your food preps.
Wanted to highlight this sentence. Just like at any flea market in the country you'll see knives and gear market "army" or "marines". Doesn't make it legit or "milspec" (i.e. lowest bidder).

Mountain House Buckets last like 25 years and last time I checked prices, you could get a month supply for 2 people for like $120.

Just like majorhavoc states, MREs are good for quick grab hiking/bug-outs since they are self contained and pre-hydrated.

Also, try the MREs first to see how your stomach likes them. When I was issued them, I never had an issue, but I know some fellas who needed a gut-adjustment.

Re: A quick question about MRE

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:11 pm
by NT2C
JeeperCreeper wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:56 pm

Also, try the MREs first to see how your stomach likes them. When I was issued them, I never had an issue, but I know some fellas who needed a gut-adjustment.
It has been wisely stated that MRE actually stands for "Meals Refusing to Exit", for their propensity to cause constipation, but this has been addressed somewhat in the newer menus. Still, they aren't really great for long-term consumption, but if they are what you have and you're hungry, that's what you eat.

Re: A quick question about MRE

Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 7:28 am
by emclean
It is useful to know that the US military inspects MREs after 3 years, and disposes of them after 5 years of the date of manufacture.
I wonder when they started that. one of the MREs I got at basic had a package of M&Ms that were proud sponsors of the '84 Olympics. it was September of 94 when I ate it.

Re: A quick question about MRE

Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:13 am
by NT2C
emclean wrote:
Mon Jul 16, 2018 7:28 am
It is useful to know that the US military inspects MREs after 3 years, and disposes of them after 5 years of the date of manufacture.
I wonder when they started that. one of the MREs I got at basic had a package of M&Ms that were proud sponsors of the '84 Olympics. it was September of 94 when I ate it.
Well, you disposed of it, didn't you? :lol:

Re: A quick question about MRE

Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:45 am
by emclean
KJ4VOV wrote:
Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:13 am
emclean wrote:
Mon Jul 16, 2018 7:28 am
It is useful to know that the US military inspects MREs after 3 years, and disposes of them after 5 years of the date of manufacture.
I wonder when they started that. one of the MREs I got at basic had a package of M&Ms that were proud sponsors of the '84 Olympics. it was September of 94 when I ate it.
Well, you disposed of it, didn't you? :lol:
Eventually

Re: A quick question about MRE

Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 10:14 am
by NT2C
emclean wrote:
Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:45 am
KJ4VOV wrote:
Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:13 am
emclean wrote:
Mon Jul 16, 2018 7:28 am
It is useful to know that the US military inspects MREs after 3 years, and disposes of them after 5 years of the date of manufacture.
I wonder when they started that. one of the MREs I got at basic had a package of M&Ms that were proud sponsors of the '84 Olympics. it was September of 94 when I ate it.
Well, you disposed of it, didn't you? :lol:
Eventually
So then the statement that "the military disposes of them after 5 years" is truthful. They just do it through recruits. :mrgreen:

Re: A quick question about MRE

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 6:00 am
by Asymetryczna
One of the things I found to be much better than the MRE is fresh chicken salad on a whole wheat pita, a pinch of black pepper and a dash of an exotic mustard. Expiration dates mean nothing to the hungry. Check the food first by sight and smell. If all is well, give it a little taste. Eat a mouthful and then wait to see if your stomach has a reaction. If you have no reaction then consider it food. Very few packaged foods will provide the nutrition of grubs and fresh plant life but if you feel better about yourself storing buckets of costly packets for 25 years then buy, buy, buy of course. ~Dr. Sandy Silverthwaite, Post Apocalyptic Nutritionist